J’Nara Corbin Guest Blogs: Following Films

J’Nara Corbin Guest Blogs: Following Films

Who would have thought that Chris Rock would launch my writing career!

Published September 23, 2010

Who would have thought that Chris Rock would launch my writing career! Last year, I was invited to see an advance screening of Good Hair shown at the 13th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival .  I could not pass up an opportunity to see the controversial but hilarious film.  Mr. Rock was sharing with the world the who, what, when, where, and whys of weave! I quietly sat in the crowded theatre as the audience gasped, swooned and swore to slap any melanin-challenged “outsider” that had the newfound knowledge.  Living to tell the tale, I typed up my first article for BET.com and received a “Wow!” via email from the comedy legend.

Marking my one-year anniversary, I eagerly accepted the invitation to attend the 14th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival . Armed with a little more experience, I was ready to tackle a new challenge: the infamous red carpet interview.  With poise and persistence, I scored an interview with the beautiful Kerry Washington .  I grabbed her attention. Before answering the first of many questions I posed, Kerry commented on my upbeat energy and my professionalism saying to all within earshot, “I love this girl!” Well, I love you too Kerry and definitely loved seeing you sport that short afro in the opening night’s film, Night Catches Us !

Nia Long was also there. The veteran actress appeared in the film that won top honors at Urbanworld, Mooz-Lum , wearing traditional Muslim garb and playing Evan Ross’ mother.

Of the three films I viewed during this film festival, there was one that resonated with me most, striking a personal chord and lingering in my thoughts days after the closing credits rolled: Ava DuVernay ’s I Will Follow .   The film led me on an unexpected journey of self-reflection. The narrative tale of selflessness and self-discovery allowed me time to find perspective as well as pieces of myself projected on the screen.

Salli Richardson-Whitfield teams up with her former Posse co-star, Blair Underwood , and my most recent celebrity crush, Omari Hardwick , in a journey of grief and personal growth. I watched the story unfold as if I were standing on tip-toes, peering through a neighbor’s window.  I Will Follow was an unobtrusive, unspoken invitation to people-watch, as long as I promised I would try to learn something from what I was witnessing.

Family drama, jealousy, anger but overall redemption proved the belief that you can love someone and not necessarily like them. Where is it written that just because you happen to share a few strands of DNA with a relative that this genetic imprint automatically makes you friends?

Much like the main character Maye, I have decided to walk down the road less traveled, all while remaining mindful so as not to lose sight of family and friends traveling down another. Perhaps rightfully deemed the Denise Huxtable of my family, I have opted for a life of chasing dreams. Although I have successfully caught and tackled a few (including becoming a published writer -- thanks again BET.com!), there are still a few naysayers found nestled on the branches of my family tree.

The reality -- family isn’t always on your side. Also, much like Maye, I have had my share of “new loves,” “old loves” and “why-can’t-he-just-get-it-together-and-be-everything-I-need-him-to-be-so-we-can-start-a-family-and-finally-give-my-mother-a-grandchild?” loves.  I Will Follow taught me sometimes there isn’t a happily ever after, especially if you don’t properly love yourself.  Relationships don’t always turn out the way you expect them to, and this film presented that truth.  Finally some truth on the screen!  After Eat, Pray, Love and Sex and the City 2 , I thought doses of truth were abandoned in cinema.

While I patiently wait in love limbo, positioned between old and new, I vow if given the opportunity, all of my free time will gladly be shared with Omari Hardwick. I will follow him—anywhere!

Written by Clay Cane


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